Hooray! You’ve found your purrfect match, fallen in love and finalised the adoption process. Now it’s time to take your kitty cat home for the ‘happy forever after’ he’s been waiting his whole life for. Here are some handy tips to help maximise the happy and minimise the hiccups while your new furry family member settles in.
Get kitted out before bringing kitty home
Whether your cat has come from a foster home, shelter or pound, it can take time for your furry feline to settle into a new environment.
New sights, sounds and smells may be a bit overwhelming at first. So do your kitty cat a favour and set up a small area to call his own for a few days or weeks.
A bathroom or laundry works well as a safe and secure spot before giving your new cat roam of the house.
Essentials to buy:
- Cat carrier
- Collar and tag
- Comfy bed
- Litter tray
- Kitty litter
- Food and water bowls
- Scratching post and toys
- Cat food
Setting up the litter tray
Fill a litter box with 1-2 inches of kitty litter and place it in his room where he can use it undisturbed. Cats value their privacy when it comes to toilet time (don’t we all!). Privacy is the key to avoiding toileting issues down the track.
Choosing a kitty litter
There are lots of different types of litter available. It’s really a matter of personal preference, so be guided by your cat. When in doubt, check with the foster carer, shelter or pound as to what type of litter your cat has been happy using.
Allow one litter tray per cat, plus one extra.
In all the excitement it can be easy to forget, but letting your new cat loose in the home without giving him the chance to first make a pee pit stop can lead to accidents. So make sure your new cat has the chance to go to the toilet as soon as he arrives home. Place him in the litter tray to give him the chance to relieve himself.
A cosy bed
Cats like to get away from it all at times, and they LOVE small spaces. So make sure your cat has a special bed or cosy hidey hole for when he needs some ‘me time’. A cat carrier, box or covered cat bed are all good options. It just needs to be big enough for your cat to stand up and turn around in.
Cat claws need to be worn down, and they do this by scratching on things. A scratching post or your furniture - the choice is yours!
Make life easier for all by making sure your cat has several official and approved scratching posts around your home. You can encourage your cat to use the scratching post by sprinkling catnip around it (mmm, catnip) or by tying a dangling toy on to the post. He’ll get the idea!
Toys are important for both mental and physical exercise. Playing with your cat will help you bond, and cute cat toys are loads of fun to buy or make!
- Cat tower - Let your new feline be king of kitty cat castle! Climbing up and down is good exercise for your cat and lots of fun too.
- Laser - Laser toys are entertaining and a great way to keep your cat moving. But be sure to mix in some ‘real’ cat toys (like a toy mouse) so that your cat can enjoy the satisfaction of sinking his claws into something he can touch.
- Wand - A flexible wand with a feather on the end is always a winner.
- Plastic caps and milk bottle tops - Flick these across the floor, air hockey style. Good, cheap, recyclable fun!
- Boxes - Simple cardboard boxes are what most cats love best of all! Place a few boxes around the house, or get really creative and make your own cardboard obstacle course.
Find out from his foster carer, shelter or pound what food he has been eating and have a supply ready for when you take your cat home.
Feeding your cat quality food is an investment in your cat’s long-term health and wellbeing. If you do decide to change the type or brand of cat food, make sure you transition slowly over several days. Start by mixing a little of the new food into the current food and gradually add more of the new food to avoid tummy upsets.
Your newly adopted cat may not each much, or not at all when he first arrives home. If your cat hasn’t eaten for a few days, call your vet for advice. Change the water frequently, and keep an eye on how much your cat drinks.
Unless your cat has long and luscious fur, you won’t have to brush him everyday. But do have a brush on hand and groom when needed. To make sure it’s an enjoyable experience for both you and your cat, take it slowly, watch your cat for signs he’s had enough. Some bribery in the way of tasty treats won’t go astray if your cat isn’t used to grooming yet.
When you pick your new kitty up from the rescue group, shelter or pound, don’t forget...
Make sure you have a copy of the adoption paperwork, including the adoption contract, medical records, desexing and vaccination certificates and microchip details. Also make sure you have contact details for the rescue group so that you can easily get in touch with them should you have any follow up questions.
For more helpful tips on caring for your new kitty, check out the ‘Help for pet owners’ section of the PetRescue Library.